If their final exhibition game is any indication, the No. 1 Auto Body Bantam A Tyees are more than ready for the provincial championships which begin this weekend in Trail.
The Tyees thrashed the Cowichan Valley Capitals 14-3 in an exhibition game played last Saturday in Duncan.
Campbell River was led by right winger Grady McInnes who scored six times, including a natural hat-trick in the third period. Linemate Travis Goodwin also notched a hat-trick, while singles went to Josh Coblenz, Tyson Goebel, Sage Lim, Austin Simper and Gavin Rauser.
“We just wanted to work on re-enforcing good habits,” said head coach Peter Martin, “keeping our shifts short, face offs, line changes, good power-play breakout and no retaliation penalties. I think we accomplished all that.”
The Tyees led 3-0 after the first period and 7-0 after two. Nick Kirchner and Ryan Smith split the goaltending duties.
Martin says his team is heading into the provincials playing their best hockey of the season. They won the Island title last month by sweeping the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and have lost only once since Christmas.
“We’re ready,” he says. “We managed to get through the playoffs with no serious injuries. Our line-up is set although I learned something new today (against Cowichan). We moved Brendan Hoff up from defence to forward and he did a great job. That’s nice to know. It gives us another dimension if we need it.”
The Tyees open round-robin play in the eight-team tournament on Sunday, 10:30 a.m., against Fort St John. Game 2 is set for at 8 a.m. Monday morning when the locals face the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins and then wrap up the preliminaries at 8 p.m. against The Westside Warriors.
Semi-final games are scheduled for Tuesday, with the gold medal game set for 11 a.m.
Martin says he has no preconceptions heading into the tournament.
“It’s one game at a time,” he said. “I could read lots about what the other teams are all about, but really, it’s more important to concentrate on what we need to do.”
Local fans can follow the Tyees online at www.BCHockey.net. Click “Championships” and then “Bantam Tier 2.”
– Submitted by Trevor Stevens